Social Science History

Social Science History
Volume 29, Number 1, Spring 2005


Presidential Address


    Kok, Jan.
    Mandemakers, Kees.
    Wals, Henk.
  • City Nomads: Changing Residence as a Coping Strategy, Amsterdam, 1890-1940
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    Subject Headings:
    • Residential mobility -- Netherlands -- Amsterdam -- History.
    • Poor -- Netherlands -- Amsterdam -- History.
    • Housing -- Netherlands -- Amsterdam -- History.
      The article analyzes residential mobility patterns of the Amsterdam poor from the perspective of their coping strategies. In periods when cheap houses were available, casual and unskilled laborers tended to move very often from house to house. Generally, they remained in the immediate vicinity, thus preserving their social networks. After the First World War, the typical proletarian mobility was less conspicuous, due to the housing shortage and improvements in the welfare system.
    Kleinberg, S. J.
  • Children's and Mothers' Wage Labor in Three Eastern U.S. Cities, 1880-1920
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    Subject Headings:
    • Child labor -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- History.
    • Mothers -- Employment -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- History.
    • Child labor -- Massachusetts -- Fall River -- History.
    • Mothers -- Employment-- Massachusetts -- Fall River -- History.
    • Child labor -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- History.
    • Mothers -- Employment -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- History.
      The battle over child labor fought in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries pitted emerging understandings about children's well-being against those of the rest of the family. As society grew more ethnically and economically complex, social reformers lobbied for greater regulation of children's behavior, thereby altering the family economy and women's and children's roles within it. The middle classes could afford nonproductive women and children, but many working-class, immigrant, and one-parent families could not. Yet, even within the less affluent strata of society, children in certain settings, ethnic and racial groups, and family structures were much more likely to be employed than in others. This article explores the variations in children's and mothers' labor in three very different settings: Pittsburgh, Fall River, and Baltimore between 1880 and 1920. It finds that child labor and education legislation resulted in a decrease in children's employment and increased the likelihood that mothers would take paid jobs.
    Lee, Chulhee.
  • Labor Market Status of Older Males in the United States, 1880-1940
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    Subject Headings:
    • Labor market -- United States -- History.
    • Middle aged men -- Employment -- United States -- History.
    • Older men -- Employment -- United States -- History.
    • Retirement -- United States -- History.
      This article explores the labor market status of older males in the early twentieth century, focusing on how the extent of pressure toward retirement differed across occupations and how it changed over time. A comparison of the probability of retirement across occupations shows that men who had better occupations in terms of economic status and work conditions were less likely to retire than were those with poorer jobs. The difficulty faced by older workers in the labor market, as measured by the relative incidence of long-term unemployment, was relatively severe among craftsmen, operatives, and salesmen. In contrast, aged farmers, professionals, managers, and proprietors appear to have fared well in the labor market. The pattern of shifts in the occupational structure that occurred between 1880 and 1940 suggests that industrialization had brought a growth of the sectors in which the pressure toward departure from employment at old ages was relatively strong.
    Hellwig, Timothy T.
  • The Origins of Unemployment Insurance in Britain: A Cross-Class Alliance Approach
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    Subject Headings:
    • Insurance, Unemployment -- Great Britain -- History.
    • Insurance, Unemployment -- Law and legislation -- Great Britain -- History.
    • Great Britain -- Social policy.
      Britain's 1911 National Insurance Act ranks as the world's first compulsory program of unemployment insurance and was a key element of the Liberal government's reforms. Yet by failing to incorporate differences in actor preferences toward insurance, existing theories of social policy origins provide incomplete explanations for its timing and scope. The objective of this article is to improve on accounts of the 1911 unemployment insurance scheme using a cross-class alliance approach. It argues that employers and workers in capital-intensive trades formed an alliance in support of the scheme, whereas their counterparts in relatively labor-intensive trades were unable to strike a similar bargain. Unlike other frameworks, this approach is amenable to explaining why the unemployment scheme was designed as a contributory system that excluded many trades. The study's findings carry implications for social historians, political economists, and sociologists alike.
    Boritch, Helen, 1952-
  • The Criminal Class Revisited: Recidivism and Punishment in Ontario, 1871-1920
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    Subject Headings:
    • Recidivism -- Ontario -- Middlesex -- History.
    • Punishment -- Ontario -- Middlesex -- History.
      Much of the renewed interest in the history of crime and punishment over the past two decades has centered on various aspects of the nineteenth-century notion of a criminal class. Although recidivism was widely regarded as the defining feature of the criminal class, little of this research has focused on systematic investigations of either differences between recidivists and the rest of the prison population or the nature and extent of recidivism-related differences in sentence outcomes. This article examines these two issues using data on offenders committed to Middlesex County Jail, Ontario, from 1871 to 1920. The results show that while recidivists differed from first-time committals to prison in terms of a number of sociodemographic and case-related characteristics, they bore little resemblance to contemporary stereotypes about the criminal class. In addition, the findings reveal both similarities and noteworthy differences with respect to the factors associated with harsher sentencing outcomes for recidivists and nonrecidivists.


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